Chinese Stories in Narration
of Woodblock New Year Paintings in Australia
Showcase of Chinese New Year Painting in Australia
Australian Audience Tried Printing of Chinese New Year Painting
Three Heroes Equaled Champion Marshal at Hulao Gate
Legend of Empty Castle as Battle Array
On March 20, Ma Zhiqiang and Yu Futang, artists of Woodblock New Year Painting (NYP) in Yangjiabu brought the recarved and reprinted version of 108 Outlaws of the Marsh to melbourn, Australia where CFLAC, China Folk Literature and Arts Association (CFLAA), Multicultural Committee of Victoria State and Pacific Federation of Literary and Art Circles jointly sponsored, and Pacific Media Group, Pacific Arts Center, Sichuan Folk Literature and Arts Association (SFLAA), NYP Academy of Yangjiabu, Weifang City of Shandong Province and NYP Society of Mianzhu City of Sichuan Province undertook Chinese Woodblock NYP Exhibition whic won an extensive focus from the local public. Distinguished guests from both China and Australia,as wellas local citizens and fans in favor of Chinese culture gathered at Pacific Arts Center to appreciate the unique cultural charm and artistic flavor of Chinese Woodblock NYP.
The nearly 100 works in this exhibition covered almost Northern china all the varied categories of Chinese NYP, such as woodblock chromatograph, print-and-paint, hand-paint and the unique embroidery NYP. As one of the key places of origin for Northern china NYP Yangjiabu of Weifang City, Shandong Province presented some representative works of Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911) in the contents of exorcism for happiness, auspice and good luck, folkloric expressions, anecdotes and fiction, flowers and scenery, beauty and youth, such as Door Gods in Pair, God of Fortune with Five Kids, God of Fortune Brings Happiness, Grand Kitchen God, Money Tree, Legend of Empty Castle as Battle Array, Three Heroes Equaled Champion Marshal at Hulao Gate, Hundred Offspring in Birth Anniversary Celebration, ing Romance of the Western Chamber, Household Prosperity, 108 Outlaws of the Marsh and Flower in Antique . There were ofher ant pieces created after the founding of New China so as to reflect ing the new life of Chinese people such as Happy New Year, Good Wishes for Spring Festival, Thriving Domestic Livestock, Weaving Women in House, Thrift for Abundance, Leisurely Vacation, and Flying Kites . With varied themes and full categories, this exhibition almost involved the whole historical evolution of Woodblock NYP. Woodblock NYP from Mianzhu City, Sichuan Province is completed through such procedures as drafting, engraving, ink printing, adding colors and flower patterns. For its importance attached to both practicality and enjoyment as well as its strong feature of vivianess, their NYP conveys the unique understanding about life in artistic conception by local people in Sichuan Province. As one of the three main places of origin for Southwest China NYP, NYP Society of Mianzhu City of Sichuan Province dedicated to Australian audiences rather difterent figure series of Door God such as children, women, officials and marshals in the local spicy and passionate style.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Mr. Chen Jianwen, member of Secretariat of CFLAC, briefed all the guests over the special significance of woodblock NYP in Chinese culture as well as the update of Chinese woodblock NYP’s bid into the Human Intangible Heritage Masterpieces List of UNESCO. He said that, as a carrier of folkloric living concept, every piece of NYP embodies Chinese ideal for life. Mr. Bruce Atkinson, president of Legislative Council of Victoria State has been devoted to the spread of traditional Chinese culture. He made a special recognition as to Chinese folk artists’ bringing their culture to Australia, “Against the current society manipulated by VR, it is an extraordinary effort to promote this traditional Chinese art among Australian Chinese and even a larger scope. The vivid experience we have gained from this event is far beyond what VR can afford to us”. As Zhao Jian, the Consul General of China in Melbourne, held, from the long-term perspective, art and culture has played quite an important role in building up the friendship between China and Australia, as they showcase the most brilliant part of Chinese culture to the West and reflect Chinese people’s expectation for the good, the true and the beautiful.
There was an interesting detail during the event: Jennifer Yang, principal multicultural adviser, to Mr. Bruce Atkinson that more local people in Australia be invited to such a cultural event as Chinese Woodblock NYP Exhibition, so as to expand Hleir knowledge of traditional Chinese arts. “I would like to make it clear between Chinese cultural or the aboriginal culture in Australia whose history is comparatively time-honored.” she joked, as the answer was so obvious. Su Junxi, president of the Federation of Chinese Associations (Victoria State), and Fu Hong, president of PFLAC, both of whom came all the way for this exhibition, offered high remarks about the wonderful Chinese woodblock NYP and excellent skills of Chinese artists.
Chinese artists were lucky enough to meet so many fans in Australia. In the graceful melody of Chinese zither on live, Chinese NYP artists Yu Futang, Ma Zhiqiang and Hu Guangkui demonstrated the whole process of NYP manufacture as well as instructed plenty of audiences on how to make a NYP by themselves. The local audience patiently queued up to learn and the skill of Chinese woodblock NYP and some were even willing to queue again for this interesting art experience. Thanks to the patient showcase and hand-by-hand instruction by Chinese artists, guests and audiences fulfilled their perfect lesson of traditional Chinese culture and In the end they ended up excitedly holding the fresh phots of their own creation even with Chinese master’s signatures. Despite the short duration of five days, audiences and artists achieved a sound interaction in great harmony.
Related Link: Woodblock NYP 108 Outlaws of the Marsh
God of Everlasting Peace in Household
Five Kids in Competition for Championship (paint and print)
Young Duck Raiser
In August 1861, a troop of Taiping rebellion invaded Yangjiabu Village of Weifang City, Shandong Province, then left in the direction of west in September. Within this time, an orphan of a Taiping martyr was adopted by Yang Jiusheng(born in 1828), owner of a NYP studio. As nobody knew his family name or given name, this child was then called “Rebel Kid”. With ms smart mind and diligent learning, this child started to learn NYP painting, became an expert in a short time and began to make model and patterns. This prodigy painted 108 Outlaws of the Marsh and every figure is endowed with handsome countenance, distinct character and vivid personality. After the first publication, all the works were sold out within a day in Jiaozhou City. At this, Yang Jiusheng took the young mar as his grown-up assistant, helped him to get married and allocate sufficient real estate, fields, farming facilities and a donkey to him. However, when the villagers compiled the genealogy of Yang family, this “Rebel Kid” was neglected.Unhappy, about it, one day he rode the donkey to a fair in Hanting and disappeared after selling the donkey.
As “Rebel Kid” was not a native in Yangjiabu Village, his works were indeed rare. In March 2005, Yangjiabu NYP Academy of Weifang City and Tongshunde Gallery of Centennial History succeeded in duplicating this giant NYP 108 Outlaws of the Marsh . The pattern was provided by Ma Zhiqiang, expert on NYP research, the draft was repainted by Ji Naicang, head of NYP Institute in Yangjiabu and the block made by Yang Luoshu, heir of Tongshunde Gallery, and Yang Kechen, master of NYP engraving.
This group woodblock NYP is a masterpiece in the prime time of Yangjiabu, as it took the lead on the aspects of delicate block, exquisite structure, plenty of vivid figures and great momentum in the NYP history at Yangjiabu. Over a century, the “Rebel Kid”s creation of 108 Outlaws of the Marsh has become a popular legend. Adapted from the historic novel Water Margin , this huge four-painting combination with 110 cm in length and 60 cm in width presented those 108 heroes familiar to every household in china. In the formality of print and paint connection, the picture showed cavalry battle in the front and the military discussion at the back.